Lost: Down the Hatch – The X Factor, Part 1

Chris Kirkman

Chris Kirkman

“LA X” Recap …

Previously, on Lost: A quick summary of the past five seasons, if I may – a bunch of people crashed on this island and found a hatch in the ground and ran from this bellowing smoke critter that either dragged you underground and tore you limb from limb or banged you against a tree until you were dead. There were capri-loving indigenous peoples on the island that liked to pretend to pretend to dress up as these rampaging, commando-like ragamuffins, and I say they pretend pretended at being ragamuffins because they wanted everyone to think that they were rough, even though they were just normal people, but not really, they’re ragamuffins that have a temple and all sorts of crazy stuff like that.

Anyways, through numerous flashbacks we learn that pretty much everyone on the island has major daddy issues and they all like to sit around and brood about it from time to time when they’re not running from something or pushing a button every 108 minutes or jaunting through time meeting their moms and whatnot. Oh, and when they weren’t running or brooding, they were probably having epiphanies and dying. That’s the kiss of death on this island – realizing a deep, inner truth. It’s sort of like having sex in horror movies; you’re not going to get out alive if you start bumping uglies. At any rate, none of what I just told you really matters, because everything that’s happened up to this point pretty much equates to a really, really old checkers match between two ancient gods.

Or aliens. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This week, on Lost: After watching Juliet seemingly blow herself and the others at the Swan construction site in 1977 sky high – again – the screen goes white, with a slow fade up to reveal clouds and the window of a plane. A familiar figure glances out into the clear blue sky; it’s Jack, nursing his vodka. Cindy, the friendly Aussie flight attendant, sneaks him another bottle. We’ve seen this all before – we’re back in 2004, on board Oceanic Flight 815, and it’s playing out just as it did before. There’s Rose, next to Jack, mentioning that Bernard is back in the tail section, hitting the can. Soon enough, we have turbulence, and you can almost imagine Desmond down on the Island below, scrambling for the fail safe key below in the Hatch, releasing the burst of energy that will bring Flight 815 down on the beach. The turbulence increases, Jack grips his seat tighter, as if he subconsciously knows what’s to come. But it never does. The turbulence subsides and the flight goes on. Jack relaxes a bit, smiles nervously and says, “Looks like we made it.” Well, I’ll be damned – it looks like they did.

Jack saunters back to the loo and gets his vain on, studying his countenance in the mirror. He notices a slightly bloody sore or scratch on his neck, seems a bit confused, and dabs at it with some tissue. Eventually, he heads back to his seat to find our good friend Desmond has now taken up residence in the aisle seat. Of course, as any good Lostie will realize, Desmond was never on the original Oceanic flight and was, instead, causing the crash in the Hatch below. Jack, again a bit befuddled, asks Desmond if they’ve ever met. Desmond can’t recall having ever met Jack. Perhaps in another life, brother.


So, who’s watching the Hatch? And where’s Penny? Probably off shooting the next episode of Flash Forward.

The view shifts to outside the plane, now, down through the clouds to the ocean below and beneath the waves, traveling along the bottom of the seabed, past a Dharma shark, along to a clearing where the ramshackled remains of Dharmaville rest, covered in barnacles, and, finally, to the remains of the Tawaret statue, its one foot and four toes surrounded by schools of fish. This is about the time your brain turns sideways.


Okay, do you think it was Cuse or Lindelhof’s 12 year old nephew who rigged his Xbox 360 to produce the underwater graphics? Seriously, there was better CGI in Anaconda, and I’m not talking about J. Lo’s butt (which was so out of control in that movie that it had its own credit – I’m serious).

Cue the swirling LOST!

Alright, let’s get moving, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. We’re treated to yet another replay of Juliet bashing the bomb and biting the big white one (you’ve really got to listen to the podcast if you haven’t already), and then it’s back to the Lost we’ve known so well for six years. An opening shot of an eye. A ringing sound. Pan back to reveal Kate, in the dark, looking a little rough. She’s up in a tree, almost falls out, but uses her rural tree-climbing ninja skills to catch herself. The ringing sound is to approximate the dullness that Kate is experiencing in hearing. It seems as though whatever happened mucked around with her ears, and Kate’s getting a little scared. Someone taps on her shoulder and she wheels around and jumps on him like a bobcat. It’s Miles, and he can’t hear either. They start wandering around, trying to figure out where they are, when they happen upon the crater. At first glance, it looks like the Swan construction site. Kate soon informs Miles that it’s not – it’s the remains of the completed Swan that Desmond blew all to hell.


See? Dang, they did a good job constructing this set – it looks a hell of a lot better than the confusing CGI hole in the ground that they showed in “Further Instructions.”


Yes, yes, you knew I was going to show you all what it looked like.

The remains of the Swan aren’t the only thing they find in their wanderings; they also happen upon a very beaten and bloodied Jack. Okay, so they didn’t make it, and the Jack on the plane is not the same Jack here – at least not yet. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that. At any rate, Sawyer is there, too, and pretty soon he’s up and around and really really pissed off because Jack made Juliet blow herself up for nothing, and honestly I can’t blame him. I’m pissed off, too. Soon enough, Jack’s getting a boot to the head, the same as just about every time Sawyer and Jack get around each other and testosterone starts flying. Jack falls down into the Swan crater, and Sawyer comes after him, telling Jack that it was all his fault. Kate, of course, throws herself in between them, as if the sudden surge in hormones might cause the two men to stop fighting and start trying to get jiggy with her. Oh, Kate.

Speaking of Kate, we’re back on flight 815X now in these new “phase flashes” (that’s what I’m calling them, for now, because they’re like a shift in quantum phase and, well, that’s a topic we can cover later), and Jack soon bumps into our indecisive little freckled ex-convict as she’s coming out of the bathroom. Marshal Dumbass is there, watching the whole thing, and never suspecting that she just stole something from Jack even though every single person watching the show knows it. They share a cute little grin with each other, and then Kate is escorted back to her seat where the good marshal offers her lasagna, but takes away all her utensils, so she’d have to slurp it up like a dog. Remember when airlines used to have actual metal utensils? That was pretty cool.

Sawyer walks by and does a little “hey, Freckles” with his grin.

Arzt is back, and chatting up Hurley, impressed that he’s met the owner of Mr. Cluck’s and begging him to do the Australian commercial he just saw. Hurley obliges, and Arzt asks Hurley how he ended up running a huge corporation. Hugo says he won the lottery, he likes chicken, and so he decided to buy it. Sawyer overhears and tells Hurley that he shouldn’t say he won the lottery, that people might take advantage of him. Hurley simply responds that it wouldn’t happen – bad things never happen to him. He’s the luckiest man alive.


Careful there, Hurley … you don’t want to get any Arzt on you.

Annnd, segue back to the Island where a not-so-lucky Hurley is slumped against the Dharmamobile, covered in blood, and Sayid lying next to him, bleeding out from the bullet wound he got in the season finale. Hurley is confused, since day became night and his ears are ringing. Jin explains that it must have been time travel, that he found a flashlight, and he’s going to go off into the jungle of mystery to see what he can find.

Back at the blown Hatch, Sawyer and Jack are still having a pissing contest, until they hear Juliet’s voice calling for help somewhere down deep in the recesses of the Swan. Jin shows up and Sawyer asks him to get the Dharmamobile because it has some chains that will help them clear the heavy wreckage.

Hurley’s still looking after Sayid when he hears someone in the jungle. He nervously fumbles with a pistol, and out pops Jacob. “Sup, Hugo. Check it out, I died, like, an hour ago. You need to take the bleeder there and the guitar case I gave you and head for the Temple.”

Flight 815 again, and Sun and Jin are hanging out. Sun is smiling at how happy Rose and Bernard seem to be, and Jin decides to be a jackass and tell his wife to button up her blouse.

A few rows up, we see Locke and Boone are making conversation. Locke tells Boone that he went on a walkabout while in Australia, and Boone tells the story of going to Australia to help his bratty sis out of a bad relationship. Locke does his Locke thing and talks about all sorts of pertinent survival trivia, like he’s the Encyclopedia Brown of the bush. Boone smiles and says that if the plane actually crashed, he’d stick with Locke. Oh, the irony! You know, because he did stick with Locke and it, well … a plane landed on him. And Jack had to cut Boone’s leg off with a metal door.


Let’s see if you’re still smiling after a plane lands on you. That’ll ruin your day.

We’re at the statue now, with Ben and Focke/Esau. Ben is in a state of shock, what with having gotten all stabby on Jacob not long ago, and Focke tells him to snap out of it and go get Richard so they can have a chat. Ben does as he’s told, but Richard is out of patience. He drags Ben over to Locke’s dead body lying in the sand and tells Ben to spill the beans.

Jin has gotten Hurley into the Dharmamobile by this time, and they arrive at the blown Hatch, throwing down chains to help remove an I-beam. Jack grabs the chains, and Sawyer looks up toward him, glances at Kate, and simply says “If she dies, I’ll kill him.”


I think he’s serious. ALL RIGHT GET YOU SOME.

Back on flight 815X, a totally ludicrous scene torn directly from a stock movie script occurs in which Cindy pages for a doctor, Jack responds and they take him to the back of the plane where someone hasn’t come out of the can for a half hour – as if Jack is trained in emergency bathroom situations during his residency as a freaking spinal surgeon. Jack stands around like a dumbass for a few seconds until Sayid shows up and kicks the door in. Thank God Sayid knows what to do. Well, in the bathroom is Charlie, and he’s unconscious, and Jack discovers that there’s something stuck in his throat (oh, gee, heroin maybe?). After failing to clear his throat, Jack stops and consults his stock doctor in a bad movie script and decides the next course of action is to ask for something sharp and a pen. You know, to make one of them throat breathing tube things. That device has been used so much in TV shows and movies that I think Marge down at the 7-11 could perform it in a pinch. Anyway, Jack finally fishes out the heroin and Charlie’s alive. Good thing, too, as he has a lot more explaining to do on Flash Forward.

At the blown Hatch, the chains are working, and they manage to clear away the I-beam that’s blocking the entrance down into the bowels of the ex-Swan. Sawyer quickly makes his way through the rubble (hey, red exercise bike! Didn’t we see that outside the hatch, though?), and down down until he finds the lovely Juliet, beaten and bloodied, but still alive.


”I’m going to get you out of here, baby.” “Please do hurry … this jam is sticky.”

Back at the bus, Jack declares that he can do no more for Sayid. Shocker.

At the statue, Richard begs Ben to tell him what happened inside. “Why don’t you go in there and find out for yourself,” says Ben in suitably creepy fashion. Bram must have heard him, though, as Ben soon finds himself picked up by the scruff and escorted into the statue. Once inside, Bram and his men confront Focke and, upon learning that Jacob is now pining for the fjords, go all ballistic on his ass. Doesn’t seem to do much good, as Focke spirits away behind a column and one of Bram’s men finds a spent bullet on the floor. That’s about the time we start hearing the horn roar and the chirrup of the electric crickets that signify it’s time for Ol’ Smokey to do some ass-whipping.


Murderous smoke monster. Tiny enclosed space. Probably a lot of messy underpants right about now.

Ol’ Smokey starts doing what he does best, flinging people around all cartoon style and basically making everyone cry for momma. Bram, however, remains calm and pulls out a little magic bag with some magic ash inside, which he uses to sprinkle around him in a circle. He stands in the middle of it, defiantly, and it does the trick – Smokey can’t seem to get past this mystical barrier.


Nice move … now, what if you have to go the bathroom, smart guy?

Bram’s feeling pretty confident until Smokey kinda shrugs – or at least as much as an amorphous smoke monster can shrug – and strikes at the ceiling, knocking some stones down on Bram, sending him flying out of the binding circle. Then it’s business as usual: guy flies through air, lands on loom and gets wooden stake through the heart. Over in a corner, Ben cowers as Smokey makes like a tree and leaves. Ben stands and makes his way to the doorway, only to feel a presence behind him. It’s Focke. “Sorry you had to see me that way,” says Focke. Holy moly.

Down at the bottom of the blown Hatch, Sawyer frees Juliet’s broken body and holds her tight, telling her that he’ll get her out of there. Juliet, partly in shock, mutters something about getting coffee sometime, and that they can go dutch, until she finally comes to and realizes where she is. She asks Sawyer to kiss her, and he does – he’s no fool, that one – and then she simply says, “I have to tell you something important.” Before she can finish, she passes away. She’s gone. Again.


How many times do I have to watch you die, beautiful? This is beyond torturous.

And that about wraps things up. I pretty much stopped watching after that.

Yeah, okay, not really. Anyway, we’re back on flight 815X and the plane lands safely at LAX and there are lots of long slow-motion glancing shots and everyone is reflecting on things and blah, blah, blah, end of part one.

It’s daylight back on the Island now, and everyone at the Dharmamobile is saddling up to head to the Temple. Everyone except Sawyer, who is going to stay behind to bury our beloved Juliet. He asks Miles to stay behind with him.

At LAX again, Jack’s about to head to baggage claim when he’s summoned to a courtesy desk. Once there, an Oceanic representative does a little “um, we kinda misplaced your dead father” two-step, which makes Jack’s thick head implode. Ah, that wily, elusive deceased Christian Shepard.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Jack does this move a LOT. Moreso when he’s off Island, but sometimes in the bush.

Team Save Sayid is at the Temple now, and making their way down into the Cerberus vent where most of Rousseau’s team were either dismembered or converted into Others. Inside they find the one-armed remains of Montand, and Kate rummages around his clothes, finding some old matches and wearing a grin like she just discovered the proof for frickin’ string theory. She lights up an old torch and goes bebopping down the corridors with Hurley, Jack, Jin and Sayid in tow. Soon enough, Kate gets ahead of the group and you’ll never guess what happens next. That’s right, kidnapping number 23. Soon, the Others have rounded up everybody in the party and are soon escorting them out of the catacombs and into a clearing, revealing the Temple.


This must be one hella big Island, because these sets just keep getting bigger and bigger and nobody’s stumbled onto some of them in five or six seasons.

LAX now, and another ludicrous scene stolen directly from the Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting. Marshal Dumbass is escorting Kate out of the airport and he falls for the old “I’ve gotta pee” maneuver. Kate gets in a stall and proceeds to whip out the pen that everyone knew she stole from Jack and starts trying to pick her cuffs. Unsuccessfully, I might add. Finally, she gets frustrated and the marshal starts rapping on the stall door, so Kate unleashes her fury – all 95 lbs. of it – and takes the marshal down like she’s been studying Seagal movies for a decade.


She’s the wiliest, dumbest little indecisive badass to ever be on television.

On the Island, Sawyer and Miles have finished burying poor Juliet, and Sawyer tells Miles about the incomplete thought. Obsessed with knowing the answer, Sawyer forces Miles to “listen” to the dead and discover what Juliet was trying to say. Reluctantly, Miles agrees, and genuflects at the graveside. After a time, we see Miles jump a bit and what sounds like the roar of a jet engine. Miles is shocked and looks slowly up at Sawyer, telling him what Juliet was trying to say: “It worked.”

Okay, bear with me here while I try to get through the Temple of Doomed Props scene. Jack, Hurley, Kate, Jin and Sayid are brought to the front of the temple and meet Dogen, a Japanese temple dweller, and his interpreter, Lennon. Along with them is a familiar face – Cindy, the flight attendant from flight 815. She explains to Dogen that these five were on that flight and survived. Dogen orders them to be shot, but Hurley makes him think twice when he says they were sent by Jacob. To prove it, Hurley even has a guitar case that was given to him by Jacob. What’s in the guitar case? A big ankh made out of balsa wood. No, really, I’ll show you.


Seriously, it’s balsa wood. When Dogen picks it up, it looked like he was going to throw it across the Temple. And why a guitar case? Wily producers, that’s why.

Anway, Dogen breaks open the ankh and there’s a slip of paper inside – of course, I mean why just use an envelope when you can put your message in an ankh? Nobody knows what the paper says, but since Dogen starts asking everybody their names, I’m assuming that it’s another one of Jacob’s “lists.” Dogen agrees to help the survivors and try and heal Sayid.

Back at LAX, Jin gets in trouble for trying to do his job and Sun won’t help him out because she doesn’t want him to know she speaks English. We know all this already, but it’s a refreshing take on an old problem, and a unique way to revisit old storylines while still keeping it all fresh.

Speaking of fresh, Dogen takes the survivors inside to the Spring, which is bubbling. Lennon remarks that the Spring doesn’t look clear. Dang right, it looks like a big tub of Coke. Dogen goes over to the spring, cuts his hand (because isn’t that what Japanese or Native Americans do during rituals?), and dips it into the Spring. Nothing happens. Dogen asks who is responsible for Sayid and Jack pipes up. Dogen explains that he can try and help Sayid, but there are great risks involved. Do what you gotta do, says Jack.

Dogen’s men remove Sayid’s jumpsuit and carry him into the pool. Dogen turns over a giant hourglass to start the ritual, because as everyone knows, you shouldn’t stay in the hot tub for long periods of time. Dogen’s men hold Sayid underwater, and Sayid kicks and fights against them, raising concerns from Jack & Co. The sands in the hourglass pass slowly and Sayid’s kicks grow less and less. Finally, the hourglass is spent and they remove Sayid from the pool. Dogen passes his hand over Sayid, looks up and tells the party, “Your friend is dead.” Jack tries to administer CPR, but it’s too late. Kate tells him to stop, and so he does. Sayid is gone.

At LAX, Kate does her Kate thing (the running thing, not the waffling back and forth between every available guy thing) and slips out of the airport, narrowly escaping the clutches of Marshal Dumbass. She commandeers a cab – with a gun, of course – and finds that she has a special passenger along for the ride.


Hi, Claire. Long time no see.

At the Temple, there’s lots of brooding going on. Sawyer and Miles have been captured and brought to join the rest of the survivors, and Kate tends to Sawyers wounds. Of course. Dogen asks to see Hurley alone, and after Dogen takes a dump on the English language, Hugo mentions Jacob’s death. Word of his demise had not reached the Temple just yet, and Dogen and Lennon each have a couple of kittens and sound the alarm. The Temple Others go into battle mode, spreading ash around the entrances to the Temple, and lighting bamboo rocket flares to alert any other Others that might be around that Ol’ Smokey might be coming to town.

Inside the statue, Ben and Focke/Esau are having a very interesting and very intense conversation.

“What are you?” asks Ben.

“I’m not a ‘what,’ Ben, I’m a who,” replies Focke.

“You’re the monster,” states Ben.

Focke wheels around, “Let’s not resort to name-calling.” Oh, Focke … even when you’re not Locke, you’re awesome.

Focke tells Ben that Locke was very confused when Ben killed him, and then proceeds to tear Locke down, calling him weak and sad. Locke did have one admirable quality, says Focke; he was the only one of the survivors that didn’t want to leave the Island. He was the only that realized how pitiful the life he left behind actually was.

“What do you want?” asks Ben, warily.

“Well, that’s the great irony here, Ben,” says Focke, leaning forward. “I want the one thing that John Locke didn’t. I want to go … home.”


I haven’t been entirely happy that John Locke is dead, but holy crap, Terry O’Quinn is chewing up some scenery playing the bad guy. He is made of awesome.

At LAX, Jack is at missing baggage, which must feel strange when your whole father goes missing and you have to file a claim like they misplaced your Samsonite. Locke is there in his wheelchair. Seems they’ve misplaced his bag full of knives. You know, six years ago when Locke first whipped open that bag of knives I got goosebumps. Anyway, Jack and Locke bond a bit and Locke tells Jack that the airline doesn’t know where his father is – after all, they only misplaced the body, not his father. That makes Jack a little less sulky, and so he offers his card so that Locke can call him and maybe get his back fixed. Locke protests a bit and says that his condition is irreversible. Jack simply responds that “nothing is irreversible.” Touche, Jack.


I just think this shot is cool.

Outside of the statue, on the beach, Richard sees the bamboo flare that was shot from the Temple, and gets extremely agitated. Apparently that was the “smoke monster posing as John Locke has killed Jacob and is on the rampage” flare. Ben and Focke exit the statue and walk right over to Richard. He mentions that it’s good to see Richard without his chains. Richard gets all wide-eyed and says, “You?!” and then Focke punches him in the face, throws his body over his shoulder, points at everyone and says, “I’m very disappointed in all of you,” before walking off the beach, into the jungle, leaving Locke’s dead body lying in the sand.

The Temple once more. Lennon barges in with some of the Temple’s heavies, and demands that Jack come with him to speak privately. Jack gets all broody and doth protest. There’s a scuffle, broken only by Hurley’s cry for Jack to stop and take a look at the back of the Temple. Everyone halts and stands there, shocked, at the form of Sayid, fully awake and well, sitting up and asking …


”What happened?”

Question of the century, brother.

Cue the THONK!

Whew. This was the first two-hour season premiere in the history of Lost, and they packed a lot in – which means there’s a lot of footage to analyze. Since Tuesday’s Lost was a two-parter, this week’s column is going to follow suit, in order to preserve my sleep and my sanity. I promise tomorrow’s analysis will not disappoint, so come on back and watch me spout off about Schrödinger’s cat, the Heisenburg uncertainty principle, many-worlds theory, aliens, Wiccan binding circles, the X-factor and some commentary on seriously lazy writing. Oh, and we’ll top it all off with the usual episode-inspired drink recipe, to make it all go down smooth.

See you and your alternate reality self back here tomorrow for more noodle-baking mayhem.

Namaste.

Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at ckirkman@hobotrashcan.com.


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